The City of Cape Town, the Western Cape government, and GreenCape on Sunday welcomed “with great excitement” the notice by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to designate Atlantis, north of Cape Town, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Davies has published the intention to designate the Atlantis SEZ, notifying the public and interested parties to submit their written comments within 30 days from September 8 to support or object to the designation, the trade and industry department (dti) said in a statement on Sunday.
The application for the designation of the Atlantis GreenTech SEZ was jointly submitted by the Western Cape economic opportunities department and the City of Cape Town, the dti said in a statement.
The SEZ was to be developed as a GreenTech hub with particular focus on clean technologies, electronics, solar and wind energy technologies, energy efficient technologies, alternative waste management, alternative building materials, and technologies, among others.
The development of the Atlantis GreenTech SEZ had the potential to attract more investors and also contribute significantly to changing the development landscape of the entire Atlantis and neighbouring areas, which were currently confronted by many problems, including high unemployment, poverty, and drug abuse.
Davies said the proposed SEZ had already demonstrated its strong economic potential and attractiveness to investors by the fact that it had successfully managed to secure investors even before the designation of the SEZ.
“There are five investors in Atlantis that are already operational, totalling approximately R680 [million]. Minister Davies says he is also encouraged by the fact that additional investment commitments worth R1.8 billion are already secured for the short- to medium-term,” the dti said.
Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Allan Winde, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, and GreenCape said in a joint statement they were greatly excited that the notice to designate a total land area of 124.5 hectares in Atlantis as an SEZ was published in a Government Gazette on Friday.
The land area of the SEZ was situated in the Atlantis industrial area north of Cape Town, south of Wesfleur, east of Dassenberg Road, and west of the Witsand community.
“I extend my gratitude to minister Davies for this latest move,” Winde said. “I call on all residents in Atlantis and across Cape Town to support the designation and submit their comments to the dti so that we can continue making progress possible and create even more jobs for our people.
“As part of the city’s economic and social development strategies in 2012 we embarked on a project to bring jobs back to the area with the Atlantis revitalisation strategy. The city identified an opportunity to establish a GreenTech hub that would tap into growing global GreenTech market opportunities while addressing unemployment challenges in Atlantis,” he said.
The city’s land and infrastructure would form the backbone of the SEZ. Atlantis had already attracted major investment to the tune of R680 million while the revival expected in the area as a result of the SEZ status would present massive opportunities for companies investing in the area, he said.
Since GreenCape was established in 2010, the Western Cape government had focused on a vision of becoming the leading green economic hub of the African continent and published the Green is Smart strategy in 2013 as the roadmap for that vision.
The province and the city had worked to put investors at the centre of the SEZ process and would work to ensure that the land was available for investment throughout the process.
Atlantis was poised for great successes with a range of additional incentives that would be available to investors once the SEZ was officially declared. This in turn would strengthen economic growth and job creation in the region.
“We know that South Africa is the world’s fastest-growing green economy. And in partnership with GreenCape, we are establishing the province as the hub of this growth. The Western Cape is home to 60 percent of the country’s green project developers and two-thirds of South Africa’s green manufacturing happens in this province,” Winde said.
GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy said: “This is a big step towards having an operational SEZ in Atlantis. However, there remains a formidable amount of work in front of the teams. The Atlantis SEZ project has seen all three tiers of government working together to ameliorate the impact of the apartheid spatial planning. GreenCape will continue to focus on helping GreenTech manufacturing companies invest and establish in Atlantis – creating sustainable, future proof jobs,” Mulcahy said.
– African News Agency (ANA)